Responding to the European Union’s decision to lift its travel ban against Southern Africa, safari industry consultant and tourism marketer, Sharon Gilbert-Rivett, wrote:
“The issue is not so much rebuilding confidence in the destinations but confidence in the act of travelling itself. The real fear from travellers is the risk of being stranded in a foreign country at the drop of a hat (or a jerk of the knee) and facing lengthy and expensive quarantine in their home country when and if they can return. It's a lack of confidence in their own governments, and global leadership.
Couple this with the fear of booking and paying for an overseas holiday and testing positive (falsely or otherwise) when they get to their mandatory PCR tests and you have an idea of what it is that's preventing people from taking the travel plunge, to Africa or anywhere else.
Toss in the risk of flights being cancelled and uncertainty about often conflicting testing requirements (and the high cost of these tests) and you have all the ingredients that are hampering tourism recovery across the board.
COVID-19 is everywhere. No one is immune to it. There is no reason to suppose that closing borders or quarantining people prevents its spread or the spread of variants as they emerge. If these interventions worked we would be looking at a very different global picture right now. We need to find effective ways to manage life with this virus and put a stop to the panic and fear.
We need to do away with PCR tests now and adopt the lateral flow tests widely being used in the Northern hemisphere. PCR tests are problematic and costly, especially for those who have been recently vaccinated or boosted, or who are recovering from COVID-19. We also need to have some form of global policy document, ratified by all governments, to effectively stop travel bans. They don't work and are enormously damaging.
There also needs to be a proper, globally accepted protocol for governments to follow regarding cross-border testing requirements in an effort to standardise these so that everyone knows what to expect and what is required wherever they choose to travel to.
Finally, the whole issue of quarantines needs to be looked at and discussed globally. Governments should not be able to introduce these without strong scientific evidence to suggest that they are effective, especially where mutations and variants are concerned. In my opinion, any form of quarantine now is shutting the stable door after the horse has not just bolted, but galloped all the way home, sired multiple offspring and been put out to grass.
Then, and only then, can we hope to rebuild to pre-COVID levels.”